Being a business owner and mom of two little ones (4 years old and 2 years old), I know all too well how it feels to have a long list of to-do’s with so little time. Have you felt that way too? You know, like you’re being stretched and you end up so stressed and paralyzed that you can’t do anything. Nothing. Instead of actually getting things done, you get stuck… making the situation even worse.
So how do you pull yourself out of that state and start moving again?
bury or drown beneath a huge mass.
“the water flowed through to overwhelm the whole dam and the village beneath”
synonyms: swamp, submerge, engulf, bury, deluge, flood, inundate
“advancing sand dunes could overwhelm the village”
“his teams overwhelmed their opponents”
synonyms: defeat (utterly/heavily), trounce, rout, beat (hollow), conquer, vanquish, be victorious over, triumph over, worst, overcome, overthrow, crush; More
give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
“they were overwhelmed by farewell messages”
(Definitions from Google)
Having experienced overwhelm numerous times before, I developed a system that helps me get out of it quickly so I can start working on slashing out one item after another from my list. I thought I’d share it here so you can try doing the same thing in case you find yourself in the same situation.
STEP 1: Write everything down. Take out a piece of paper or open a new Word/Excel document and write down everything that’s making you feel overwhelmed. Getting everything out of your head can actually stop you from freaking out because once you see everything on paper, you’ll realize that there really is not a lot to feel overwhelmed about.
I know, I know. You might be thinking, “I have a hundred emails in my inbox! How is that not a lot?!” We’ll get to that in the next steps.
STEP 2: Take a break. Now that you have everything on paper, take a 15-minute break before you start digging into your pile of to-do’s. I often just grab a cup of coffee or skim through Pinterest (my new best friend!) during this time. When I have extra money, I get a quick massage. Just do whatever will help you clear your mind.
STEP 3: Create your schedule. Once my mind is clear and I’m more calm, I take out the list of to-do’s that I wrote down in Step 1 and I schedule blocks of time for each task. I find that I get quickly overwhelmed when I multi-task because nothing seems to get done when I do that, so I make sure I dedicate a certain amount of time per task. No hopping from one task to another and back!
I have a planner dedicated to my work where I write down tasks I can do for the day and schedule tasks I can work on the following day. I don’t really schedule an exact time for each task, I just list them down according to priority. It makes me feel really motivated every time I tick one task off my list!
Important Reminder: Don’t spend too much time on your planner! Remember that the goal is to just get everything scheduled. I spend about 15-20 minutes each day to write down what needs to be done. Skip the doodles and decorations (unless you have lots of time to spare) and focus on getting things done.
STEP 4: Get to work! Now that you have everything listed down and scheduled, get to work! With a list to guide you on what needs to be done now and what can be done later, you’ll soon find yourself getting things done in no time.
Still feel like you’re drowning in tasks even after trying the steps I shared below? Sometimes, you simply need to get help. I ask for help from my husband when I need it at home. At work, I ask help from my virtual assistant. Hiring a virtual assistant made a HUGE difference because having an extra pair of hands took out a huge chunk of work off my shoulders. Four-hour work days? Not impossible at all! If you’re a busy executive or an entrepreneur struggling to get things done, I highly recommend that you hire a VA. You won’t regret it!
What do you do when you get overwhelmed?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below!